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Understanding Russia’s interest in Syria’s conflict

Syria is at war and the country is literally on the verge of disaster as we saw in Libya for eight months. The Syrian conflict has lasted for the same period and now things seem to have come to a boiling point with the emergence of the Free Syria Army, made up of military defectors from government forces that have killed over 3,500 people going by the unofficial figures provided by aid agencies and opposition groups.

Hama, Homs and Deraa seem to be the centre of the resistance against the government of Bashar Al Assad, who is unwilling to accommodate the demand of his people to allow democracy to thrive. Assad took over from his late father Hafiz for almost a decade now and has maintained the same dictatorial philosophy of the Baath Party as we saw in Iraq under the Saddam Hussein leadership. The growing calls for Assad’s ouster are a severe setback for the family dynasty that has ruled Syria for four decades. Any change to the leadership could transform some of the most enduring alliances in the Middle East and beyond. The United States has been eyeing Syria for regime change since at least 2001.

The Arab League suspended Syria last week while Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey and Qatar have openly condemned the killing of Syrians accused by government of being agents of the West. Turkey especially is bearing the weight of the repression in Damascus as thousands of fleeing Syrians have crossed over to its border with Syria. more

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